NEW DELHI: Brands looking to make an impact on social media in India should leverage a range of tools from online video to competitions.

IndiaBiz News & Research Services conducted a survey of 350 social media users based in New Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai and Bangalore.

Almost 90% agreed they had joined these sites to keep in touch with friends, while 80% enjoyed uploading and sharing content like photos with people they knew well offline.

Facebook was named as the most popular social network among respondents, with the majority having signed up as members.

LinkedIn, the business-orientated platform, posted a score of 45.8%, a result possibly explained by the fact that 37% of contributors were in the 26–30 year old demographic and 35% were mid-level executives.

YouTube, the video-sharing property owned by Google, recorded a total of 36.5%, but has gained ground thanks to showing live coverage of sporting events like the Indian Premier League cricket tournament.

Twitter, the microblogging portal, reported earlier this year that it was experiencing highly impressive growth in its audience numbers in India.

However, only 29.6% of individuals featured in IndiaBiz's poll regularly visited Twitter, with its appeal said to be largely “limited to celebrities”.

Just over half of the panel were fans of their favourite firms on a social media service, although their actual pro-active involvement varied greatly.

For example, 63% of the sample had never added messages to brand communities or pages, and 11% of this cohort solely followed products that were admired by their friends.

In terms of corporate communications, 41.4% of participants suggested company blogs were their preferred way of finding out information about potential purchases.

A further 40.3% afforded such a status to videos and pictures, with emails and similar messages on 37.3%.

Competitions, games and quizzes were the other primary methods that advertisers could employ to effectively engage with their customers.

Some 45% of netizens either read or wrote blogs, with 70% of this group dedicating at least half an hour a day to this pastime.

The subject matter that typically attracted the most attention included entertainment, current affairs, fashion and technology.

Elsewhere, 30% of respondents frequently logged on to social media sites via their mobile phone, an approach that is often required given the relatively low level of PC penetration in India.

Data sourced from IndiaBiz News & Research Services; additional content by Warc staff